Transnet is in talks with the suppliers of locomotives to agree to the start of a joint legal process to resolve an "irregular and illegal" R54bn purchase of locomotives, said acting CEO Tau Morwe. Transnet’s agreement with General Electric, Bombardier, China North Rail and China South Rail in 2014 to buy 1,064 locomotives as part of a strategy to renew its rolling-stock fleet was allegedly fraught with corruption, linked to the way the contracts were structured, resulting in billions of rand in kickbacks. Debt levels at Transnet, much like other parastatals, have spiralled under chronic mismanagement, rising to R122bn from R25bn over the past few years. As part of the clean-up of the rail and port logistics parastatal, the new board wants to terminate the four contracts and set in place an order for fewer locomotives (perhaps 953), Morwe said in an interview on the sidelines of the Investing in African Mining Indaba. "We’ve engaged the original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) and wi...

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